07 August 2008

A Different World View

My baby girl hasn’t even come down the chute yet, and I’m already turning into an overprotective father figure.
The ultrasounds were pretty clear, when Evelyn wasn’t squirming around or playing with her hands. The clarity of the image was striking – and a clear line between her legs made any doubt we had about her gender assignation seems moot. She is very obviously a girl, and part of me sat there watching the little TV baby knowing that my view on being a parent had shifted gears from “carefree” to “serious” in a matter of minutes. In a matter of minutes, I felt something within me change. I was well on my way to becoming like Walter Stratford, the protective (to put it mildly) father figure in the 1999 movie “10 Things I Hate About You.” Stratford, a gynecologist, is obsessed with keeping his daughters safe on prom night.
“Kissing? That's what you think happens? I’ve got news for you. Kissing isn't what keeps me up to my elbows in placenta all day long,” he says. “I’ve got news for you. I'm down, I've got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don't care how dope his ride is. Mamma didn't raise no fool.”
I love his character for two reasons – one, he obviously cares, and two, he lamely tries to relate to his teenage daughters using “hip” lingo, which, as happens when most parents seems attempt it, turns out sounding unintentionally hilarious, like listening to tourists two almost, but can’t quite, carry a conversation in English. Since my wife has been pregnant, I’ve looked at things in a different way. Those movies scenes where a guy’s family is held hostage? Yeah – not funny anymore. Little kids gone missing? No longer a subject that provokes little response in me. Now, the empathy is heartbreaking. On our way home, we saw two teenage boys on bikes waiting for a stoplight to change. They were skinny and slightly insolent looking, wearing aviator glasses and plaid shorts. Normally, I would have just seen “teenagers.” Now, knowing I’ll be the parent of a daughter, I saw something else: “sexual threat.”
This sensation reached its apogee last night when Karla and I were watching a Wal-Mart commercial (of all things to find meaning in) featuring a mom dropping her daughter off at college. We, soon-to-be-parents, started to cry. We get it now.
Seriously though, finding out that I’m having a girl makes me look at things differently. First, my mind is burdened with the thought of what it is going to be like when she is a teenager, when teenage guys (who can get girls pregnant merely by being in the same state with a girl) will start calling for my beautiful (of COURSE she’s going to be beautiful!) little girl. I’m going to be that CIA-style dad who interrogates every date, who insists on regular communications checks with his daughter and who waits up until she gets home.
Yes, I’m going to be the biggest jerk those teenage boys have ever seen. And I can’t wait.

1 comment:

Cory said...

You've probably heard this before...

Have a baby boy, you only have to worry about one dick. Have a baby girl, you have to worry about all of them...